Climate Change in Kenya


Flooding one of the impacts of Climate Change in Kenya

Climate change is perhaps the most considerable environment challenge of our time. It poses a great challenge to sustainable progress globally. It affects eco systems, water resources, food, health, coastal zones, industrial activities and human growth.

Climate change threatens to adversely affect economic growth in Kenya, and endangers Kenya becoming a prosperous country with a high quality of life for all its citizens. The cumulative impacts of climate change over the next two or three decades have the potential to reverse much of the progress made towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2030.

Climate change poses a serious challenge to Kenya’s social and economic development. This change will lead to major challenges in the economy, human life and on the environment. Kenya is most vulnerable to climate change since the key drivers of the economy (agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry, and fisheries) are climate-sensitive. Coupled with the country’s low adaptive capacity to climate change, the country experiences a high level of vulnerability.

Threat of climate change in Kenya

Kenya is already feeling the effects Climate change. The widespread poverty, recurrent droughts, floods, inequitable land distribution, overdependence on rain-fed agriculture, and few coping mechanisms all combine to increase people’s vulnerability to climate change. For instance, disadvantaged people have little security against intense climatic actions. They have few resource reserves, poor housing and depend on natural resources for their living.

Floods and droughts have caused damage to property and loss of life, reduced business opportunities and increased the cost of transacting business as recently witnessed in most parts of the country. Acording to Eriksen etal 2008, IPCC 2007a, Climate change and variability are considered to be major threats to sustainable progress. The areas likely to feel the greatest impacts comprise the economy, water, ecosystems, food security, coastal zones, health and the distribution of populations and settlements. Africa is considered vulnerable to climate change- effects largely due to lack of financial, institutional and technological capacity.

In order to enhance investment that aims to reduce vulnerability and build resilience of the society, and in line with the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its implementing instrument the Kyoto Protocol, the Government of Kenya launched the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) and Climate Change Action Plan

Climate change impacts in Kenya – what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found by WWF
  • Along with warming surface waters, deep water temperatures (which reflect long-term trends) of the large East African lakes (Victoria) have warmed by 0.2 to 0.7°C since the early 1900s [].
  • The 1997-1998 coral bleaching observed in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea was coupled to a strong ENSO (an indication of the potential impact of climate-change induced ocean warming on coral reefs). In the western Indian Ocean region, a 30% loss of corals reduced tourism in Mombasa (and Zanzibar) and resulted in financial losses of about US$ 12-18 million [].
  • Mangroves and coral reefs, the main coastal ecosystems in Africa, will likely be affected by climate change. Endangered species associated with these ecosystems, including manatees and marine turtles, could also be at risk, along with migratory birds [9.4.5].
  • Previously malaria-free highland areas could also experience modest changes to stable malaria by the 2050s, with conditions for transmission becoming highly suitable by the 2080s [9.4.3].

Related links

Climate Change Action Plan